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How To Wash Cloth Diapers

Washing your cloth diapers is quite easy. There is no need to soak them; just store them in a diaper pail until washing day. It may take you a few weeks to get used to it but once you have established a routine you’ll see how easy it is. Most cloth diapers in our store come with detailed washing instructions; please follow always the manufacturer’s washing instructions to ensure manufacturer's warranty. Use our washing tips only as a guideline.

Before using your cloth diapers you should wash all hemp and cotton cloth diapers at least 3 times. Prefolds may take up to 7 washes to reach maximum absorbency and to fluff up nicely. The washing process will remove all natural oils that inhibit absorbtion. Test your cloth diapers before you use them. Pour a little bit of warm water onto the fabric, if it absorbs immediately you are fine to go. If the water beads on your cloth diapers, you may need to increase the water leavel or change your detergent. If your cloth diaper has a 'stay dry' layer, you will need to apply some pressureon your diaper before water absorbs.

Top loaders are great for washing cloth diapers. If you have an HE machine you need to make sure to manually increase your water level to maximum. Cloth diapers need a lot of water to be washed and rinsed properly to avoid detergent build up. If you cannot adjust your water level on your HE machine, you can trick it by adding a wet towel to your load. Your machine will add more water now!

For the best cleaning results and the longest life for your diapers you should wash your diapers every 2-3 days. We do not recommend soaking your diapers in a wet pail as it can be a hazard for a curious baby. Try to keep soiled diapers and diaper covers separate from each other (in different pails) as the urine will destroy the material of the covers over time. Diaper covers can be reused until they are soiled or start to smell, at which point you can toss them in the wash with the diapers. Did you know that breastfed solids are water soluble? No need to rinse!


Here are 4 easy steps to prepare your diapers for washing:

  1. Remove the diaper and flush away the liner, or spray/shake off any poop into the toilet.
  2. Remove inserts from the diaper or unfold prefolds.
  3. Secure the velcro closures to the washing tabs.
  4. Place the dirty diapers and diaper covers into a wet bag or diaper pail.


On your washing day toss the soiled diapers and diaper covers into the washing machine (approx. 25 per load for good washing performance). Take your wet bag, pull it inside out and add it to the laundry.

Now the washing! Use the highest water setting.

  1. Start with a COLD pre-wash without detergent.
  2. Follow with a regular HOT wash COLD rinse using a zero residue detergent*. Please use only half of the recommended detergent, as too much detergent can result in detergent build up in the diaper and is a common cause of leaky diapers. If you notice detergent build up, you might want to follow up with an additional COLD rinse.
  3. Dry your diapers on a medium setting in the dryer or, even better, hang them on a drying line outside. The sun acts as a natural bleach on your diapers. Ensure your diapers are thoroughly dry before you stack them away.


*Zero residue detergents are free of phosphates, enzymes, perfumes, dyes, fragrances, brighteners, bleaches, fabric softeners and stain guard ingredients.


Which laundry detergent works well with cloth diapers?


Please make sure that you DO NOT:

  •        use any bleach
  •      use fabric softeners or dryer sheets (use dryer balls instead)
  •      use diaper creams without a liner